|The Man With the Iron Heart|
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||Early 1920s|
Vladimir Bokov was an agent for the Soviet NKVD. In the immediate aftermath of World War II and the unconditional surrender of Germany, Marshal Ivan Koniev was assassinated in Berlin. Bokov was given the task of finding the killer, and through the torture of a German soldier, learned of the so-called "Werewolves".
This information was confirmed in July, when a German drove a truck loaded with explosives next to a parade of Red Army troops, and detonated it, killing himself and several troops. Bokov interviewed a witness, Colonel Fyodor Furmanov, who'd been leading the parade, and survived with minor injuries. This incident, coupled with news that a German had blown himself up in a similar fashion in Erlangen in the American occupation zone confirmed what Bokov had learned.
While Bokov and his immediate superior Moisei Shteinberg oversaw the deportation and execution of several thousand German civilians, it wasn't until the fall of 1945 that Bokov was able to put his hands on a geuine Werewolf. One Gustav Fenstermacher had attempted to blow himself up in Dresden, but had failed. Soviet soldiers immediately captured Fenstermacher. The Red Army comander on the ground, Major General Boris Antipov quickly informed the NKVD, and Bokov collected Fenstermacher and took him back to Berlin. Bokov quickly disabused Fenstermacher of the mistaken belief that he was protected under the Geneva Convention.
Bokov next found himself in Wroclaw, Poland, where the Werewolves were actively fighting Poland's efforts to expel the ethnic German population. The Werewolves assassinated Pietruszka, the regional governor. In respone, the Polish Army rounded up as many ethnic Germans as it could find, concentrating on the military personnel, but arresting civilians as well. The Polish Army then contacted the NKVD, and Bokov responded.
He met with Polish Captain Leszczynski (and quickly realized that Leszczynski was too nationalistic to survive long), who presented him with German Adrian Marwede, who claimed to have been a noncom in the German Wehrmacht during the war. Bokov quickly deduced that Marwede was in fact a member of the Waffen SS. Marwede, not a Werewolf himself, disclosed three facts, two of which were known to Bokov and Leszczynski. First, Reinhard Heydrich had been hiding weapons, even though they were needed at the front. Second, he'd been keeping back wounded soldiers after their wounds had healed, rather than send them to the front. However, the fact that Heydrich had been doing this since 1943 brought Bokov and Leszczynski up short, and privately horrified Bokov.
In December, 1945, Bokov and Shteinberg received a film from the GFF. It featured a kidnapped Red Army private named Nikolai Sergeyevich Golovko reciting GFF demands that the USSR withdraw from Germany. Bokov quickly acknowledged that Golovko was doomed, since the USSR had no intention of retreating. Bokov suggested that three of the Werewolves the USSR had in custody should be subjected to torture, decapitated, castrated, and the mutilated parts be left where their comrades could find them. Bokov personally oversaw the executions, and left the heads and testicles at an eatery in Berlin.
A few weeks later, on New Years Eve, Bokov and Shteinberg both developed a nasty case of the flu. Initially, both men were extremely disappointed. Bokov had planned on spending the evening in frank drunken debauchery. However, he soon had cause to be grateful for the illness, as the GFF struck again, poisoning the Russians' celebratory spirits with wood alcohol. This resulted in the deaths of several key Soviet military and NKVD officials, including Marshal Georgy Zhukov.
Bokov spent early 1946 trying to determine who the had poisoned the party, all to no avail. The Russians had been careless about listing the suppliers of the liquor and who served that night. The USSR intensified punitive measures against Germans generally, but quietly gave up on finding the specific culprit. For his own part, Bokov realized in Spring, 1946, that the GFF were indeed playing a numbers game.
After the GFF rendered Frankfurt uninhabitable with a radium-bomb, Bokov suggested to Shteinberg the possibility of borrowing Geiger counters from the Americans. Shteinberg shot the idea down, echoing the Party line that the USSR must not appear weak before the Americans.
When the GFF toppled the Eiffel Tower in 1946, Bokov helped oversee security for the various Soviet monuments that had been established in occupied Germany. Unlike the other Allies, the USSR kept those measures up, and so did not suffer any attacks on the scale of the Eiffel Tower or the destruction of St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Bokov specifically spoke with a Lt. Colonel Surkov about protecting the Red Army monument the USSR had built in Berlin.
In the last weeks of 1946, Bokov survived an assassination attempt in Berlin when a rifle shot missed him. After Bokov ordered the execution of hostages, he returned to headquarters, and again suggested to Major Shteinberg that the USSR should cooperate more with the Anglo-Americans. Again, Shteinberg shot the idea down.
The following February, Bokov was nearly killed again, when a truck bomb exploded outside his office building. When Bokov, along with Lt. Colonel Boris Aleksandrovich Kuznetsov and others went out to investigate, another bomb detonated. Bokov escaped with minor injuries, although Colonel Kuznetsov was killed. Major Shteinberg had also come out, and lost the lower part of his ear.
By July, 1947, the Allies were prepared once again to try the German war criminals. The USSR volunteered to host the trials in Berlin. Bokov and Shteinberg played critical roles in maintaining security. Just after the accused were brought into the city, Bokov and Shteinberg encountered a Jew named Shmuel Birnbaum who'd survived the camps. Birnbaum had been shot and wounded when he didn't move at the order of a soldier. The two NKVD men were prepared to treat Birnbaum roughly, until he indicated he'd been involved in a substantial digging project in the base of the Alps. Bokov and Shteinberg quickly realized that this man could locate Heydrich's hideout. Unfortunately, the location was in the American zone. Realizing Birnbaum's value, the two approached Lt General Yuri Vlasov about handing Birnbaum over to the U.S. Vlasov, a loyal Soviet citizen (made moreso by his unfortunate last name) immediately vetoed the idea.
On the day the trial was scheduled to begin, a GFF pilot crashed an American C-47 into the Berlin courthouse. Both Bokov and Shteinberg witnessed the event. Bokov, having had enough, screwed up his courage, and suggested to his superior that they demand Vlasov allow them to share Birnbaum with the Americans. Shteinberg, equally fed-up, agreed. This time the two threatened that they would go to Lavrenty Beria himself. Vlasov acquiesed.
After sending out contacts to the American Counter-Intelligence Corps, Bokov took Birnbaum to Fent's Establishment in Berlin. This was somewhat ironic as the place had previously been named "Hitler's Establishment", and the owner had been Adolf Hitler's half-brother, Alois Hitler. As the name of the sign hadn't been repainted in a professional manner, Birnbaum noticed right away, and balked at entering. Bokov would not allow it, and brought Birnbaum inside. There, they met with Captain Howard Frank and Lt. Lou Weissberg. Bokov was initially suspicious that the Americans had sent two Jews to pick up another Jew, and was made more suspicious by the revelation that Birnbaum had met the two Americans when they initially arrived in Berlin. Nonetheless, Bokov turned Birnbaum over to Weissberg and Frank, even getting a receipt. They all then drank to a toast of "Death to the Heydricites!"
Weeks later, Bokov was left to wonder if the decision had been worth it, when the GFF destroyed the Red Army monument the USSR had established in Berlin. Lt. Col. Surkov, the person responsible for protecting the monument, committed suicide. Ultimately Shteinberg convinced Bokov that in the end, it didn't matter that much. For his part, Bokov suspected that Shteinberg might have been putting ethnicity and religion above nationality. However, the Americans finally killed Heydrich, validating the decision.
Despite Heydrich's death, the GFF remained active, hijacking two American planes, and one Soviet plane. Bokov and Shteinberg were given the task of dealing with the Soviet plane, which was being held in Prague. Realizing that they were being tested by General Vlasov, the two NKVD men ordered that the plane be raided. The raid killed all the GFF men aboard, with only two dead hostages, a loss deemed acceptable.
Bokov continued at his station in Berlin, and watched with disappointment as the Americans left.